Volume 94, Issue 91
Wednesday, March 14, 2001
Mustangs ruffle a few Raven feathers - Destination: Halifax
SO WHEN DO WE START DRINKING FROM THIS THING? Western's basketball boys are tops in Ontario after beating Careton 69-59 in the OUA finals this past weekend.
By Jordan Bell
The Western Mustangs men's basketball team should trade in their uniforms for a hard hat and a pair of work boots.
In a gruelling defensive battle, the Mustangs rode a late surge to propel themselves to victory, winning 69-59 over the Carleton Ravens at Alumni Hall in the Ontario University Athletics finals this past weekend.
The atmosphere was electric as Alumni Hall was filled to capacity with an extremely boisterous partisan crowd. Barring the fact that both teams had already secured a berth to the national championships in Halifax, Mustang head coach Craig Boydell said every player gave it their all in the attempt to bring home a championship.
"How many times do you get to play for a championship of anything?" Boydell said. "To come into Alumni Hall with this crowd, it was all worth it."
The Mustangs jumped out to an early 9-2 lead only to relinquish it and play an evenly contested half, going into the locker room ahead 28-25. It was a half marked by inconsistent shooting, partly due to the smothering defence of both squads. The Mustangs shot an uncharacteristic 39 per cent from the field, and the Ravens did worse, going 34 per cent.
The Mustangs fought through a minor glitch (a 7-0 Ravens run) early in the second half, to eventually pull away. Forward Matt Tweedie was instrumental, as he buried consecutive three-pointers to reverse the momentum to the home side.
Tweedie credited the Mustangs overall team effort, and a little spice-of-life for their success. "Our key was balance," he said. "Also the emotion and energy we played with."
Tweedie, the graduating Mustang sharpshooter, played his final game in Alumni Hall, as did center Rich Tamminga. Tweedie went out with guns blazing, as he nailed four three-pointers, scored 17 points, and hauled down eight rebounds.
"It feels unbelievable," he said. "Being my last game, it makes it extra special."
The Mustangs also received a strong performance from their scoring sensation, forward Andy Kwiatkowski, who scored 18 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds. Guard Jimmy Grozelle and center Chris Brown added 14 and 10 points respectively.
The Ravens, the nation's fourth ranked squad, were so close to pulling off the monumental win they might have tasted it. Carleton head coach Dave Smart said he felt his team lacked soem of the things that made them successful during their season.
"I don't think we played with the same confidence we've played with all year," Smart said. "I think Western is the best team in the country, so we have to go through them to win a national championship."
Credit must go to Ravens forward Josh Poirier, who used a plethora of low-post moves to stupefy the Mustang defence and post 28 points. Playing only 22 minutes makes that number even more astronomical.
In other excitement, midway through the second half, a half naked Mustang fan streaked through the court during a free throw situation. The symbolic value was pristine the Ravens had been exposed by the Mustang stampede.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000